The quest for the perfect, crisp bite of shrimp was more difficult than I anticipated.
First, you have to decide on the size of the shrimp, ranging from medium to colossal. Colossal are my favorite but can be hard to find and expensive. Medium cook too fast for this preparation. Large or extra large can be good, but you never really know what you are getting. Watch what your fishmonger chooses to make sure they’re on the heavier end of the scale. For this reason, the jumbo are best because you know what you are getting. It’s a good thing that the price of shrimp has been so reasonable this summer!
Then you have to choose your method of cooking: boiling; deveining and boiling; peeling, deveining and boiling; grilling; and grilling and deveining. (You could also try broiling them too but I thought that was overkill.)
Of course taste-testing the results was the best part of this endeavor. (Much preferable to the deveining.) Whether you peel the shrimp before boiling first or wait, I actually found no difference. Perhaps because you leave some of the shell on anyway. The grilled ones had a nice smoky flavor but that seemed to overpower the shrimp taste. While it’s a pain to devein, it makes for the prettiest presentation. I did find it easier to peel and devein than to try to devein without peeling. No matter which method you choose, you’re minutes away from shrimp bliss.
1 lb of jumbo shrimp
Old Bay or salt
Devein and/or peel the shrimp if desired. When peeling leave the first layer of the shell and the tail on. Devein from there down by cutting down the center of the back and pulling out the vein. And no, you don’t need a fancy tool to do this.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (I like to use Old Bay instead). Add the shrimp and return to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes or so. (Timing will depend on the size of the shrimp and how long it takes the water to boil again. You don’t want to overcook the shrimp, but you don’t want to undercook it either. They should be a slightly brighter pink color when done than when they first change color.) Immediately remove the shrimp from the pot and immerse in ice cold water. Continue to chill in the frig or freezer until cold.
If grilling, grill the shrimp in the shells for 3 minutes over indirect medium heat. You can turn once if you want to, but it’s not necessary as long as they don’t burn. Chill, then peel.
Serve with some spicy cocktail sauce or my favorite, wasabi aioli.